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Switched on by TV realities

A teacher we know keeps his classes switched on by telling them jokes about his family. "My parents were in the iron and steel business," he says. "My mother ironed and my father stole." Two primary heads played an escalating series of preposterous pranks on each other, culminating in the appearance of one in a gorilla suit at the back of the other's assembly.

Was Beadle about? No, but from next autumn, Teachers' TV could be. The Government-funded digital service will be trawling the nation for England's funniest teacher, alongside other gimmicky programme ideas derived from reality TV (see page 6).

If bells and whistles are needed to sell learning to children, perhaps the same is true for teachers. Will it work? From now on, ministers won't be worrying about whether children are watching too much television, but about whether teachers are watching enough.

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